Amy What, Cecil Hotel, Elisa Lam discussed on Press Play with Madeleine Brand


Killers like the night stalker, Richard Ramirez, who would come back They're to sleep after killing people in the 19 eighties. More recently, one horrific death, they're captured the world's attention and baffled investigators. The 2013 death of ELISA Lam. The ELISA Lam case was extremely unusual. And it raised all different types of questions. How did she end up here in a water tank on the roof of the seesaw hotel. Do we have a crime here? What actually happened? New Netflix. Docuseries takes us inside the seasonal hotel. It retraces lambs final moments with interviews with the hotel staff who were there that night with investigators who looked into the case and with the cyber sleuths who tried to solve it. Syriza's called Crime Scene. The vanishing at the Cecil Hotel and joining me is the executive producer of the Serious and director Joe Berlinger, Hijo. Madelin. Nice to see you again or hear from you again. Yeah, you too. And former manager of the Cecil Hotel Amy Price. Hi, Amy. Hello, Madeline. Well, Joe, let's begin with you. What intrigued you about this story? At least. The Lambs disappearance a journalist named Josh Teen who wrote extensively about The case and the locality. The Sesil came to me and suggested that you know, there might be interesting docuseries here and I agreed, but I wanted to do it in a slightly different way, Which is we're launching a Syriza's now that talks about The location of crimes as opposed to leaning in tow. Specific and individual crimes. So what is it about the Cecil Hotel? You know what are the socio economic and perception all forces that kind of create a place where crimes seem to repeatedly happen. But this case is just utterly fascinating because It's all about perception. These Web sleuths really leaned into investigating the case and that ended up health is a fascinating idea. They were so taken by the disappearance of ELISA Lam that They wanted to try to solve it, and they went down various rabbit holes on it just kind of fed upon itself. And Amy when you started working the Sesil in the What? Around? 2007? Yeah. Did you know anything about its reputation? No. I actually got this job through a friend. And it was just a conversation initially about. You know, a friend's husband that needed some Help that a hotel. He just started working at downtown and I had the time And I just said, yes, right. And so when did you realize what the sizzle Woz and, um And what had gone on there. I mean, it wasn't long before I first started working there that you know somebody passed away. And I do remember asking. And what does this happen often? And you know, the person that I was talking to said, Well, yeah, it does happen. You know a lot and you know, I was surprised. You know, I had never experienced anything like that. To put into context. The Cecil Hotel was one part regular hotel and one part residential hotel, right? And so It was for people who lived in the area. Maybe you know people who weren't You know, so desperate that they were living on the streets and skid row, but not too far above that on the economic run living at the Sizzle Hotel, and so a lot of people in dire Straits You know the seas hotel was, you know just a step above skid Row, to be honest with you and for young travelers that was also seen as a place a cheap place to stay and And they would come there thinking that they were staying in a kind of like a youth hostel. Right? So the initial plan was, you know, to transform the hotel in tow. Something totally different, you know, being half hotel You know, Half residential we were, you know, challenges to bring in some extra money. We designed a hotel. You know where it was three floors within the hotel, And that's where stay. I mean, came in the picture, and we started marketing to the younger travelers. Joe. ELISA Lam didn't know anything about the seasonal either. Why did she stay there? Well, as Amy just indicated they had did a nice job of marketing This hostile This hotel within a hotel called Stay on main. You know, if you Googled for a hotel, you would find very inexpensive. Nice looking hotel. You know, we can all imagine ourselves taking that kind of first trip as a You know, young 21 year old woman deciding toe, you know, take that West Coast tour. I don't think she knew what she was. You know what kind of place she was stepping into, right? So she's his young woman from British Columbia on her first trip. On her own. Her parents. There are pretty protective. They asked her to check in with them every day. They're a little fearful, and then she stops communicating with them. And then the mystery unfolds and Lots of detectives were on this case, right? Like 20 detectives, too. Yeah. Initially well, is a missing persons that Jason involved, you know, a foreign national and L A P D, you know, really sent a bunch of people out to investigate. That force ended up being reduced to about four detectives because of another. Another case started swirling. But initially they put a lot of resources into it. And Amy What was that? Like for you is the manager of the hotel. You're the manager at the time you start. It was very gradual. How it all unfolded. I mean, you know, in the beginning, we were looking for a missing person. And But from the beginning to the end, we were equally as you know, cooperative and we worked directly with the police force. Anything they needed. I mean, we they were on site for weeks. You know, we gave him a room of their own to Go through all the footage. I mean everything that you do see, like, you know, as far as the elevator footage, I mean, all that was provided from us and the elevator footage is key, and that's what gets the amateur sleuths interested in this. Can you describe what that is? Joe, the LAPD. We're stumped after some days, and they decided to release this elevator footage in order to get to get assistance from the public. They had footage of her in the elevator, so the last known footage of ELISA was In this hotel elevator, where was stuck on a floor and she was acting kind of strangely walking in and into the hallway walking back into the elevator, gesticulating strangely, and it just was quite captivating and bizarre. It just went viral people thought because of the history of the hotel. That somehow something sinister and evil had happened to her right? And they thought maybe it was ghosts involved for some of them did Or that there was her killer was just outside the frame outside the The elevator doors, keeping the door open. Those kinds of things right all sorts of theories as to what what had befallen her. And that's one of the reasons I wanted wanted to, you know, look into the case, because, you know, a terrible tragedy happened and it's kind of been written off as just a ghost story, and I felt it was important in the show to kind of bring her to life with her writings on Tumbler and two Take the audience on this journey that all of these cyber sluice They kept coming up with clues on theories, and a lot of these theories relied on the paranormal and the supernatural. And I think the show demonstrates that actually something quite different took place. And Amy, you had had some interaction with her. What? What was the nature of those interactions? What was she like? I had very indirect interaction with her. I mean, I was the general manager. So of course I oversaw the hotel operations. The two groups they had the most interaction with her would have been, you know, the front desk and the housekeeping department. So she was actually she was sharing a bunk room and you know with other females and I guess she wasn't following the rules I should say is, you know is if you're sharing a room with other guests, and so we decided to relocate her so she could have a room on her own. Then you get a call from some residents are some hotel guests. I should say that there's something wrong with the water. The water pressure is low, and you send a maintenance man to investigate. And then he discovers what has happened to her. I don't think I'm ruining the story because it was Huge news story here, but she was discovered dead in the water tank at the roof of the hotel. Um What was your reaction to that, Amy? It was shocking, but I just You know, it's suddenly turned into a mob scene. There were so many things to do. I still it's It's hard to even relive the day. You know it was so involved Yeah, Yeah, I'm certainly nothing you had thought you would have had to encounter or that you signed up for So what happened after that? Because that seems to really have, um, brought out all of the people who are interested in this around the world to try to solve the crime..

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